Federal prosecutors have charged a man with conspiracy to possess and sell the dangerous opioid fentanyl following an investigation into a woman’s possible overdose death on St. Thomas, according to documents filed in U.S. District Court.
Elijah Hakim was arrested by warrant, which was executed on Sept. 14. He is scheduled to appear in court for a detention hearing today before Magistrate Judge Ruth Miller.
The case began in April, when the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Department of Homeland Security Investigations began a criminal investigation “into a drug trafficking organization sending fentanyl from Georgia to the U.S. Virgin Islands via the U.S. Mail,” according to the 10-page arrest warrant affidavit filed by a DEA special agent.
On April 28, V.I. Police responded to an emergency call regarding a “possible drug overdose,” and the victim was found unresponsive and pronounced dead at Schneider Hospital, according to the affidavit.
“VIPD officers interviewed the victim’s boyfriend. He stated that the victim had taken cocaine and several opioid pills before going to sleep,” according to the affidavit.
Investigators found calls and messages between the victim’s phone and an unknown suspect between April 7 and April 28, according to the affidavit, including 16 calls and 8 text messages on the day of her death.
That suspect was separately communicating with Hakim, who has long been implicated in narcotics trafficking, according to the affidavit.
“The victim phone and Hakim phone were never in direct communication with one another,” according to the affidavit.
On April 30, Customs and Border Protection officers conducting routine inspections at the General Post Office in San Juan, Puerto Rico, found a parcel sent from Atlanta addressed to an individual on St. Thomas which contained 150 round blue pills that tested positive for fentanyl on May 10.
The pills totaled 18.11 grams, and investigators obtained surveillance video from an Atlanta post office showing a woman with a baby mailing the package on April 22, along with a second parcel addressed to a different person on St. Thomas.
Investigators obtained historical records for the Georgia address, and discovered additional parcels with text alerts connected to a phone number for Hakim, according to the affidavit.
On May 20, customs officers opened one of the parcels and found 200 fentanyl pills totaling 25.14 grams, according to the affidavit.
The affidavit listed previous incidents involving drugs and Hakim, including his 2015 arrest in Miami for trafficking ecstasy, and a 2019 package addressed to Elijah Hakim that was intercepted by customs officers and contained 208 grams of ecstasy pills, according to the affidavit.
Customs officers also stopped Hakim in April 2020 at King Airport and during a brief interview, he identified his girlfriend — who was listed as the sender on some of the recent fentanyl parcels — by name and his address on St. Thomas, according to the affidavit.
Travel records showed Hakim traveled from Atlanta to St. Thomas on April 15, and left on April 27.
Investigators said they also found Hakim’s latent fingerprints on one of the parcels of fentanyl pills on June 23, and they used location tracking information from Hakim’s phone to tie him to the conspiracy.
The special agent concluded that Hakim is working to “coordinate, track and re-distribute quantities of drugs from the Atlanta, Georgia, area to St. Thomas,” and that the messages between Hakim and the suspect were “arranging the unknown user of the suspect phone’s procurement of drugs from Hakim. I believe that the communications between the suspect phone and victim phone were communications arranging a drug transaction between the victim and the unknown user of the suspect phone.”
The agent said there is probable cause that between at least April 22 and May 1, and Hakim conspired to possess with the intent to distribute 40 grams or more of a mixture containing fentanyl, according to the affidavit.